Edging out recipes for leg of lamb, wild salmon, and berry gazpacho, fish sticks took victory at the Great Garlic Cook-Off in 2013’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. And Colorado resident Karen Harris is now $5,000 richer for creating this delectable take on the simple fish sticks.
Karen Harris’ “Carnival Style Fish Sticks with Lemony Jalapeno Mayonnaise and Spicy Apple Kohlrabi Slaw” was her third attempt at the Great Garlic Cook-Off and proved that third time’s the charm. Based off her time living in England where she fell in love with their fish & chips, Karen fused that style of fried fish with America’s corn dog to create fish sticks served on a stick. A light tempura batter added to the fish sticks’ crunch. In accordance with the rules of the Great Garlic Cook-Off, Harris’ recipe incorporates garlic. Finalists prepared their recipes during a hot Saturday morning of the Gilroy Garlic Festival in front of a panel of judges and a live audience while KSBW Action News 8 personalities provided commentary and details of each finalist’s cooking.
Presentation helped Harris’ fish sticks win the judges over during the Great Garlic Cook-Off. Served atop of baking paper with “The Daily Telegraph” newspaper print on it that gave the dish a rustic charm, Milias Restaurant owner Adam Sanchez found the presentation “very, very creative.”
“If food looks good, it usually tastes better.” – Adam Sanchez
Some attendees at the Gilroy Garlic Festival expressed surprise over the fish sticks taking first place; with some quoted as saying “WHAT?” or “Really!?!” and the occasional “They’re just fish sticks!” Those who want to put their doubts to rest do have a chance to try out this year’s winning fish sticks. In addition to the prize money and prestige, Harris’ winning recipe will be part of the garlic menu of Majid Bahriny’s Mama Mia Italiano Ristorante locations in Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
While the Great Garlic Cook-Off admittedly doesn’t offer the biggest prize money, this Cook-Off is regarded as a prestigious competition attracting participants around the country to compete just as the Gilroy Garlic Festival that hosts the Cook-Off attracts garlic lovers. Featuring all sorts of cuisine, crafts, food items, and live events related to the stinking rose, attendees are sure to find something to their liking. And the Gilroy Garlic Festival is one of the few convenient locations where you can try out the sublime garlic ice cream.
Gilroy Garlic Festival attendee tip: Just pay the $5 at the ice cream booth inside the festival for a scoop of velvety ice cream with a sweet and garlic punch that’s balanced well insteado of standing in the long line for a mere nibble.
Having looked through the pictures of the finalists’ recipes, do you agree with the outcome of the Great Garlic Cook-Off? What is your favorite garlic-themed recipe?